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Showing posts from August, 2011

JVIB 2012 Special Issue on Technology: Today's Game Changer

I'm very excited to be a guest editor with the awesome Donna McNear on next year's special technology issue of the Journal of Vision Impairment and Blindness. JVIB is the peer-reviewed journal of record in the field of vision loss, and a past tech issue in 2003 featured my article, In the Palm of Your Hand, a vision of what mobile devices would mean for blind people in the future (a future that has already happened, of course!).

Donna and I are looking for forward looking articles that will inform the field of what might happen in the future. Technology is advancing at such a pace that so many topics are possible, but to just name a few:
Mobile (what might happen next!?)Web infrastructure and accessibility of/through the cloudThe power of freeNew technology for giving blind people the ability to tackle tasks that used to require visionConvergence between mainstream technology and assistive technologyNovel and/or innovative applications of technology for teaching and education…

DIAGRAM Center

I just attended two days of meetings in Washington DC on the first year of the DIAGRAM Center, held at the Office of Special Education Programs in the Department of Education. The goal of the DIAGRAM R&D Center is to greatly improve access to graphical information for students with print disabilities (for example, helping blind students get access to important graphics inside textbooks). This is becoming crucially important as the problem of delivering access to text is increasingly solved by the move to ebook publishing and solutions like our Bookshare library. Of course, just as we're solving the text problem, more and more content is moving to richer, more visual forms like graphics, simulations and flash!

The first exciting part of our work has been delivered by the National Center on Accessible Media, one of our two key partners in DIAGRAM (along with the DAISY Consortium). The initial part of the project was to do a detailed survey of existing assistive technology pr…

Bookshare Users Downloading Long-Awaited Apple e-Book App

Benetech got a call recently from an excited Bookshare member who had been waiting to download our new Read2Go accessible e-book application for Apple devices. Graduate student Maria Georgakarakou, who is blind, gave us a rave review for the Read2Go app which allows those with print disabilities to listen to books in the DAISY audio format.

Maria was especially excited about Read2Go’s navigation features that allow her to search and download accessible e-books from our Bookshare library directly to her iPad and iPhone. In addition to being a Bookshare member, Maria is a book scanner and volunteer proofreader. She predicted that the usability of Read2Go will encourage Bookshare members to read more books in the DAISY audio format.

Maria also noted that students like herself are finding more scholarly books on Bookshare which expands her ability to research. Maria is a historical musicologist who is pursuing her PhD at Boston University. She studies secular songs and theater music from …